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By Hamid Shalizi
KABUL, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Afghan authorities have ordered that the YouTube website be blocked indefinitely to stop Afghans watching a U.S.-made film they say insults the Prophet Mohammad, government sources told Reuters on Thursday.
“I welcome any decision by the government because it badly affects the minds of young Afghans,” a senior government official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Another government official, who also declined to be identified, said the ministry had ordered all Afghan internet providers to block the YouTube site.
An official at the Ministry of Communications said on Wednesday that an order had been issued to block the site until the film was taken down. The site was shut for several hours, but was then restored and Afghan Internet users were still able to view it on Thursday.
The officials said the block was ordered to prevent outbreaks of the sort of violence seen in Libya, Egypt and elsewhere. Four U.S. officials including the ambassador to Libya were killed in the east Libyan city of Benghazi on Tuesday night.
The violence in the Muslim world caused Afghan President Hamid Karzai to postpone a Friday trip to Oslo, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry said, adding that he wanted to remain at home at this time.
In the past, material and actions deemed insulting to Islam have sparked deadly riots in Afghanistan.
The accidental burning of Korans at a U.S. base near Kabul in February drew thousands of protesters to the streets across Afghanistan for weeks and dozens of people were killed.
Clips of the movie, posted on YouTube under several titles including “Innocence of Muslims”, portrayed the Prophet engaged in crude and offensive behaviour.
Clips had been posted online for weeks before apparently triggering violent demonstrations. (Writing by Amie Ferris-Rotman; Editing by Robert Birsel)